North Dakota is still feeling the effects of COVID-19 a year after the state’s first case was found. It’s been a roller coaster of year throughout the community. It was one year ago that North Dakotans were going about their day to day routines when the first confirmed COVID-19 case hit the state.
“It’s one of those things we didn’t even expect to come to America right? When it first started over in Asia, over in Asia,” said Barry Schneider, a Bismarck Resident.
“I thought it would be gone in six months, maybe seven. I really was not expecting this long,” said Marlette Pittman, a Bismarck Resident.
The novel coronavirus which started slow in North Dakota, but wound up infecting more than a hundred thousand, and taking more than 14-hundred lives.
“It’s a lot different for me. I lost my mom back in September from COVID. So I’m taking all the precautions I can take. I know I’m not wearing a mask now. But I’m one of those that had the infection. And I can’t get the shot yet till I get through that,” shared Schneider
The virus brought on a set of challenges like nobody had ever seen before. Hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients reaching a statewide peak of 334 patients in mid-November and frontline staff felt the strain.
“When we received our first case, I came on the next morning. And I came on the night shift. Staff were scrambling. And we we’re like are we doing the right things? Are we doing the right PPE? What are we doing? So it was a definite challenge right away. We we’re like okay we got our first case, what are we going to do,” shared Kristen Renner, the Clinical Supervisor of ICU at CHI St. Alexius.
After that first case it seem that people we’re testing positive left and right going from 1 case in one day to higher then 2,000 Renae Moch, the Director of Public Health in Bismarck, was busy from the beginning.
“We’ve been constantly changing from one phase of response to another. So we we’re initially doing public education and contact tracing. Testing then. And now we’re doing vaccinating. And definitely a much more positive,” explained Moch.
Industries like tourism, beauty and food were all heavily impacted. Marty Lee, the owner of Noodlezip, says sales dropped by 35 percent at one point.
“In July, we had a positive case in my restaurant and for precaution we closed down and got everyone tested negative. Luckily,” explained Lee.
But through it all it was the community that helped Lee through the hardship and come out on top.
“Pouring in lots of love, lots of good messages. Butterhorn next door to us, the restaurant they offered their, a portion of their sales to us to compensate whatever the hardship that we’re going through,” shared Lee. Every person we spoke to says even with the pandemic still going on a whole year later there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
Nikiya Carrero Reporting